You May Soon Be Able to Calculate How Many Calories Are in Your Food Porn

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?country_code=US&page_number=1&position=1&safesearch=1&search_language=en&search_source=search_form&search_type=keyword_search&searchterm=food%20porn&sort_method=popular&source=search&timestamp=1433281597&tracking_id=o1ttkNTbyQDvQw1UCMjsIw&use_local_boost=1&version=llv1&page=1&inline=210790618">Joshua Resnick</a>/Shutterstock

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Are you the kind of person who relishes publishing over-saturated photos of your dinner onto Instagram? If so, a new project, reportedly being developed by Google, may soon provide you with yet another interactive activity with your food—other than simply eating it. 

The Guardian reports the prospective project, coined “Im2Calories,” aims to help users calculate the caloric makeup of food photos. Using an artificial-intelligence technology that would “analyze the depth of pixels in an image” it would then figure out “the size and shape” of our meals by subjecting that analysis to various algorithms. After all that? Voila! That caloric content of those perfectly manicured entrees. 

It’s not perfect. Developers say that initially the technology may only be able to correctly measure the calories in a photo 30 percent of the time. But in a recent presentation, Google research scientist Kevin Murphy said that success rate is good enough to attract enough curious users to improve it over time.

Although a spokesperson for Google said the tool is still only in research mode, its potential creation could certainly help people keep tabs on their calorie intake. But is this really effective for losing weight? Research suggests such knowledge does little to impact a person’s food choices.

This might not matter much to Instagram’s crowded food wing, reflected in popular accounts such as You Did Not Eat That and You Wish You Ate This, which is likely to gobble up the calorie counting tool. Just look at the overnight success of Microsoft’s age guessing app. And after all, there is only so much satisfaction the number of likes a perfectly manicured food post can provide a person.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate